Kingarth, Bute, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Buteshire Gotoarrow.png Kingarth

Parish #555

This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Kingarth. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.


KINGARTH, a parish, in the county of Bute, 8 miles (S. by E.) from Rothesay; containing the villages of Kilchattan-Bay, Kerrycroy, and Piperhall. This parish takes its name from the promontory of Garroch Head, forming its extreme point to the south, and called in Gaelic Ceann Garbh, which signifies "stormy head." The church was built in 1826, and contains 600 sittings. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship.[1]

This parish occupies the southern part of the Island of Bute.  It takes its name from a promontory forming its extreme point to the south, called in the Gaelic language Ceann Carbh, which signifies stormy end or stormy head.  It is 6 1/2 miles in length and its average breadth is 2 1/2 miles. It is bounded on the north by lakes which separate it from the parish of Rothesay.  The land in general rises considerably above the level of the sea.  It has six bays.

Nothing is known of the ancient history of the parish.  There are remains of a Druidical circle and the ruins of a fort.  There are also the ruins of a chapel supposedly founded by St. Blane in the tenth century.  The present place of worship for the parish has long been removed to a situation more central for the inhabitants on a rising ground between the bays of Kilchatan and Stravanan.  The church was built in 1826.  The parisihioners attend the Established church with the exception of one family in connection with the United Associate Synod and one person who is Roman Catholic.  The population of the parish in about 1775 was around 950, in 1791 was 727 and in 1831 was 746.  The decrease was due to people leaving for work in Rothesay and elsewhere.

The English language is sopken in general by the inhabitants.  Cattle are raised.  Lime is quarried and shipped from Kilchatan Bay.  There are fisheries.  There is no market-town in the parish but near-by Rothesay serves as the market-town.  The villages are Kerrycroy and Kilchatan Bay.  The chief mansion-house is Mountstuart held by the Marquis of Bute.  There are three schools, one of the parochial.  There is a parish library.  The fuel in general use is coal.  Fifty years previously most men young and old were employed in herring-fishery, but now most are strongly attached to farming due to improvements in agriculture, which has made rapid advances especially within the last twelve years.  A complete system of draining had been introduced, crops are rotated, and there are other improvements.

The above is an extract of the account written in June 1840.

Source:  The (New) Statistical Account of Buteshire.  Family History Library book 941 B4sa, 2nd series, vol. 5, pt. 2.


 The New Statistical Account of Scotland (pub. 1834-45) offers uniquely rich and detailed parish reports for the whole of Scotland, covering a vast range of topics including history, agriculture, education, trades, religion and social customs. The reports, written by the parish ministers, are available online at  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Kingarth. Also available at the Family History Library.

Online Resources:

Census Records

A census is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. Read more about census records.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Kingarth, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available.

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. All available censuses, 1841-1901, are indexed on this website. It may be easier for you to pay to use the website rather than access the separate indexes through the library.

Church Records

The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about church records.
Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers

                  Years Covered      Family History Library Film Number
Births:        1727-1820            1041084 item 4
                  1820-1854            1041085 item 1
Marriages: 1837-1855            1041085 item 1
Deaths:      1727-1820            1041084 item 4

Condition of Original Registers—

Births: Mothers' names are not recorded until 1759.
Marriages: No marriage record prior to 1837.
Deaths: Deaths and/or burial entries are recorded on alternate pages of the register of births. Record terminates January 1786.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. Family History Library British Book941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The session was made up of the minister and the land owners and business men of the parish, chosen to serve on the session. The Kirk session dealt with moral issues, minor criminal cases, matters of the poor and education, matters of discipline, and the general concerns of the parish. Kirk session records may also mention births, marriages, and deaths.

Here is a list of the surviving Kirk session records for this parish:

Minutes 1648-1651, 1664-1700
Scroll Minutes 1669-1703
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/219.

Nonconformist Church Records

A nonconformist church is any church that is not the Established church. Read more about nonconformity in Scotland in the article on the Scotland Church Records Union List.

Kingarth, Ascog Free Church

The church here, known locally as Ascog was erected in 1842–1843; and was designed as a chapel of ease under Kingarth Parish Church. It was opened as a Free Church immediately after the Disruption and a minister was settled in September 1843. With the growth of the population two new churches were erected between this church and Rothesay.
Membership:1855, 60; 1900, 80.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Family History Library Film #918572. More details are given in the source.

Minutes 1853-1898
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/969.

Kingarth,South, Free Church, Kilchattan Bay United Free

Reference Title Date Access status
CH3/1270 Kingarth, South, Free Church, Kilchattan Bay United Free 1873-1922
CH3/1270/1 Communion roll 1873-1901
CH3/1270/2 Communion roll 1902-1922

CH3/1270 and CH3/1270/1-2 National Archives of Scotland

Civil Registration Records

Government or civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths (also called statutory records) began on January 1, 1855 in Scotland. Each parish has a registrar's office and large cities have several. The records are created by the registrars and copies are sent to the General Register Office in Edinburgh. Annual indexes are then created for the records for the whole country.
See the article on Scotland Civil Registration for more information and to access the records.

Probate Records

Kingarth was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of The Isles until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Rothesay. Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at You must register on the website but use of the index to probate records, called 'Wills & Testaments,' is free. You may then purchase a copy of the document or, if the document is before 1823, it will be on microfilm at the Family History Library. To find the microfilm numbers, search in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Bute and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of The Isles.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Bute. Look in the library catalog
for the 'Place-names' of Bute and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 61-82. Adapted. Date accessed: 16 May 2014.

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